This kid is incredible. A passion for math, science and fixing problems has led the extraordinary Peyton Robertson to create a better sandbag solution in the face of superstorms and other flood-related disasters. The 12-year-old Florida native’s interest in disaster-mitigation was sparked after seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

“Sandbags are great in flood protection, but they can be heavy and hard to transport,” he explains in the video below. A problem which he solved by substituting sand with a dry, lightweight mixture of salt and expandable polymer that when inundated, becomes denser that seawater. An interlocking fastening system further avoids seepage by avoiding any gaps in between the bags.

Engineers have said the technology is real. If so, it could prove a genuine advancement in disaster prevention in risk and flood-prone areas around the world.

The invention, which was developed with the guidance of a 3M mentor for the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, won Peyton first prize and the prestigious title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

In addition to his other inventions and pending patents, Peyton has filed for an open patent for the sandless sandbag so that others can use and build upon his design.

(Don’t miss his enthralling and adorable interview on Ellen!)

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